One of the big bug bearers of teaching PE, once you get used to everyone saying you have no marking is the realisation that if you did mark - what use is it to the pupils anyway. Speaking as a practical practitioner and not a theory teacher (as in GCSE theory, yes we do mark!). How can we ensure that the feedback we are giving to pupils is useful, meaningful and helpful to their progress. At the moment it feels like feedback is done as an exercise to prove our worth as teaching staff - unlike other subjects we won’t have reels of paper to mark at the end of the lesson but we know we told the pupils lots of feedback within the lesson. But can we evidence that? Do I need to evidence that?
At times I feel I am trying to find new ways of giving feedback throughout a lesson to show evidence of my verbal feedback. I wouldn't be able to count how often I am giving specific feedback to a pupil within the class - it's possible that within 10 seconds I have told more than 3 pupils what they need to improve in the hockey pass or dribble.
So with all this is mind I am trying to fulfill the task of finding out what is the best way to give feedback in my practical lessons - whether I am outside on a frozen astroturf or in the main hall for dance.
With this in mind I am going to look at a number of key areas within my subject:
There has been a wide range of research on feedback and its place in our education system - it is an ever changing subject already in my limited 6 years of teaching. I have been witness to levels, no levels, formative vs summative and I am sure I have many more years of changing my practise to fit the ever changing goal posts.
So what makes good feedback, In a review titled ‘ the Power of Feedback’ Helen Temperley and John Hattie highlight the importance of supplying learners with specific information about what they are doing right are wrong. This is pretty self explanatory and while I am impartial to a ‘Good Job Darcie’ (Because I know some pupils need the praise) I know Darcie will never get better from just ‘Good Job’ .
The second point discussed was that feedback s most effective when it is given immediately. This I would view as a strength in our practise and most practical teachers subjects - the nature of our subject allows us to immediately see success or failure and be able to comment on that, whether it is a missed shot or gymnastic move. In this instance our verbal feedback puts us back in the game. However this would be much more difficult for other subject teachers as they may need to give written comments etc.
It is vital when giving feedback to ensure that we link the feedback to the students goal, if their goal is to perform the push pass in a competitive situation my feedback should ensure it links to her performance of the push pass and how that feedback will allow her to improve.
Feedback could also be negative process for our pupils, for a pupil who is not typically ‘games minded’ always receiving comments to improve in netball could be a hindrance to them, this could be become unmotivating and distract from the goal and even the smallest progress of steps towards it . Psychologist Edward Deci found 3 situations where ths could be counterproductive.
Whenever I do an assessment lesson in PE, I always let the girls know what I am looking but as well as that I instill this throughout the unit, today a girl said to me ‘but Miss I was awesome last week’ as the idea of me assessing today. I laughed and chuckled to myself as before the lesson has even started the pupil thought she could be worse and this could potentially affect her grade.
I aim to ensure I have video footage of pupil examples of expectations, this way pupils can compare to the ‘perfect’ model. I aim to demonstrate the perfect model within a lesson and highlight this when it is shown. But going back to my original research question… What is the best and most effective way to give feedback in PE.